Dressed For the Occasion

Celebrating special events during a pandemic is tough. Never mind Easter, Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en, which will all happen again next year. What about milestone birthdays, once in a lifetime?

We have had several of these in our family during the last 8 months. This means that everyone is getting older, which beats the alternative, and we have figured out small ways to celebrate. Gift drop-offs with clapping, outdoor picnics in parks, and garage gatherings; all indicate that at least the event has not gone unnoticed. Honouring a 75th birthday was our latest challenge.

Some parts of this celebration were easy to arrange. Gifts for my particular 75-year-old, aka Peter, are not hard to find. He is one of a generation of men who seem to feel that clothes don’t matter. Wear that holey shirt to the store? Who will notice? Put on worn-out suit pants to do the gardening? Why not? Old shoes that are scuffed and leaking? Perfect for cleaning out the garage! “Reduce, re-use, recycle” is their motto and it is mostly a good one.

In a perfectly timed request the other day, Peter asked me to mend his hiking pants. “Just a tiny hole” he said. It was not exactly tiny and it was not on a seam, so it couldn’t really be mended in the usual way. I got out an iron-on patch. Oops – it seems the hiking pants were made out of a material that melts and the “tiny” hole was now Huge. I hid the pants and thought about what to do. Then one of the “kids” called, asking for birthday gift ideas. Phew – saved!!

Setting up the garage for a family drop-in was easy too. I still had the plastic sheets left over from the last garage party and they transformed the space into a festive banquet hall. Well that may be a slight exaggeration, but I did add balloons to cover up the gaps between the sheets. And we got a new, heavy-duty heater. We were ready for the masked guests to arrive, one family at a time.

Nine-year-old Agnes and her parents came in the morning, wearing warm coats and bearing a birthday cake which Agnes had baked herself. It was a tasty work of art and we made a huge dent in it. They also brought new hiking pants as a gift. Yea! After an hour they were getting cold and it was time to leave. We waved good-bye from a distance and went inside to wait for the next guests.

In the afternoon Peter’s 2 other sons arrived separately, with our other grandchildren and 2 dogs. They all had jackets on (although the dogs forgot theirs). We sat across from one another and tried to stay warm as the winds howled outside and the darkness moved in. We watched Peter open more gifts: a warm sweater with a sheepskin lining, and a box with 2 merino wool hats. How useful! He quickly stashed them behind his chair.

Gradually everyone got up and started moving to keep warm. It was difficult trying to dance around one another while staying 2 meters apart. Eventually even the heater, the hot apple cider, and the jackets were not enough. Fearing for the safety of his new sweater and hats, Peter suggested it was time for the party to end. As the shivering guests headed for the warmth of their cars, we all agreed that it was a birthday we would remember for a long time.

But it’s getting harder to imagine a Christmas in the garage with the snow blowing in. We’ll have to add another feature to our party venue. If anyone sees red blankets on sale at a good price, can you let me know? I’ll need several.


Agnes’s partly-eaten creation

9 thoughts on “Dressed For the Occasion

    1. Grazzie tanto Lavinia. Saluti Roberto, Armando e la famiglia. Speriamo che potremo venire a trovarti nel prossimo anno. Stati tutti bene.


  1. I think it was a great party and Susan you have a husband like mine….too frugal to buy expensive clothes…good thing they are fun….ruth


  2. Glad that you were able to celebrate this special milestone!
    Happy Birthday Peter!
    Agree, one that you will never forget!


  3. You have done well trying to stay safe with family gatherings, however, do be careful Sue. We do not expect to see family or dine with them over the Xmas holidays, sad as it may be. We reckon it’s better safe than sorry and they understand, as do the grandchildren, that to try and eliminate this nasty virus we have to do this. Xmas will be very different, sad , lonely and difficult. But if we hope to control this issue we have to stay apart no matter what snd where. It seems all goes crazy (virus) after family/group gatherings. 😂😂 I guess virtual seems to be the way to go! Hope with following recommended protocols this will help us all get back to normal n the new year. Miss seeing everybody. Stay safe. Good luck. Moira

    Sent from my iPhone



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